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WINGS Birding Tours – Itinerary

Spain in Autumn

Saturday 7 September to Tuesday 17 September 2024
with Oli Reville and local leaders
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Among our many raptor targets is the highly prized Black-winged Kite. Photo: Oli Reville

Spain encompasses much of the land on the Iberian Peninsula. Our new Fall tour focuses on the country’s most southern region, Andalusia: an area of great contrast, with vast plains, towering mountains, stunning coastlines, and rolling countryside with attractive Pueblos Blancos (White Towns) dotting the landscape. We’ll explore this range of habitats and visit the Strait of Gibraltar, Western Europe’s primary migration flyway. Target species will include Marbled Duck, White-headed Duck, Little Swift, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Red-knobbed Coot, Audouin’s Gull, Northern Bald Ibis, European Roller, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin, and Black Wheatear.

In addition, we will experience the spectacle of migration with some 25 species of shorebird, including the striking Collared Pratincole, and 20 species of raptor, including the highly prized Black-winged Kite, European Honey Buzzard, Spanish Imperial Eagle, and Montagu’s Harrier. We’ll also be on the lookout for Rüppell’s Vulture, Lanner Falcon, and other rare raptors.

We’ll also enjoy two pelagic trips off the coast of Cadiz province. The first will target the numerous seabirds migrating through the Bay of Cadiz while the second will be aimed at cetaceans with a good mix of seabirds and stunning views of Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar as a bonus.

This tour is perfect for travelers looking to enjoy the wonderful weather, culture and food of Southern Spain and the impressive spectacle of the European fall migration. Typically, we can expect to encounter 170-190 bird species along the way.

Days 1-2: We will begin the tour with a morning start from Sevilla**, where the group will convene for an introductory meeting over breakfast and then set off for birding the vast expanses of Brazo del Este. This important wetland area along the east bank of the Guadalquivir River is a birding paradise with a huge array of species on offer, and we will make our first efforts with species such as Marbled Duck, White-headed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, and Spanish Imperial Eagle. Among the vast numbers of shorebirds here, we’ll seek out Collared Pratincole, and we’ll scan the reedbeds for migrating warblers such as Eurasian Reed Warbler and Melodious Warbler.

Day 2 begins with a 6-hour pelagic trip from Chipiona. Our vessel will take us far out into the Bay of Cadiz, where we will get to enjoy and study seabirds such as Great Skua, Pomarine Jaeger (Pomarine Skua), Cory’s Shearwater, Scopoli’s Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, and the critically endangered Balearic Shearwater. A supporting cast of terns and gulls will make for a truly wonderful experience. 

After lunch we will spend the rest of the day visiting easy to bird sites around Chipiona, featuring mainland Europe’s only breeding colony of Little Swift, plus many shorebirds, terns, and gulls including Audouin’s Gull, a stunning species which is globally threatened. Nights in Chipiona.

Days 3-7: We will spend the next five nights along the Strait of Gibraltar as we explore this famous birding area. The array of available species during these next few days will be huge, and if the winds are favorable, we should get to witness impressive raptor migration, as well as large numbers of White Storks circling over the coast before migrating across to Africa.

We will also search for migratory passerines, shorebirds, and seabirds and visit a range of habitats around the Strait which can hold a range of interesting resident and migrant species. Our itinerary is flexible in order to take any birding opportunity that might arise based on the wind and migration patterns, but some highlights of our time here will include a visit to a Griffon Vulture colony, where recent sightings of Rüppell’s Vulture have added an increased interest. We will also search out the endangered Northern Bald Ibis which now breed in the area.

During our time around Tarifa we’ll take our second pelagic of the tour, cetacean-focused trip out to where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea which will give us stunning views of the Spanish and Moroccan coasts. Nights in Tarifa.

Days 8-9: Our next two days will see us leave the coast behind as we head for the beautiful Sierra Grazalema mountains and the surrounding area. Resident mountain species like Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, European Crested Tit, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Iberian Grey Shrike will be the focus, with a range of other resident and migratory species greeting us at every turn. With luck we may also come across the magnificent Iberian Ibex, which is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. This area is one of Andalusia’s finest for scenery and the Pueblos Blancos, a series of whitewashed towns and villages dotted across the mountain slopes and valleys will make a fascinating backdrop to our birding here. Nights in Ronda.

Day 10: Today we will leave the mountains behind and drop down into the plains east of Sevilla. This area of agriculture and grasslands holds some truly special birds, with Great Bustard, Little Bustard, and Black-bellied Sandgrouse being our primary targets. Migrating raptors use these fields to hunt en route to the coast, so we’ll  keep an eye out for Egyptian Vulture, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, and eagles such as Booted Eagle and Short-toed Snake Eagle. The open habitat can also be a good location for iconic Spanish species like European Roller, European Bee-eater, Mediterranean Short-toed Lark, and Calandra Lark.

While in the area we will also visit Fuente de Piedra which can still hold water despite the late summer heat. If so, waterbirds and shorebirds will be most numerous here with Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Stone-Curlew, White-headed Duck, Marbled, Duck, Ferruginous Duck, and Red-crested Pochard all possible. We’ll also search for passerines such as Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Eurasian Hoopoe, Zitting Cisticola, Black Redstart, and Sardinian Warbler. Night in Osuna.

Day 11: On our last morning we’ll return to suitable sites in Osuna for another chance at any of our main targets we may have missed on Day 10. After spending the morning here we will head to Seville Airport where our tour concludes at noon.   

Updated: 24 January 2024


  • 2024 Tour Price : $5,550
  • Single Occupancy Supplement : $530


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Questions? Tour Manager: Erin Olmstead. Call 1-866-547-9868 (US or Canada) or (01) 520-320-9868 or click here to email.

* Tour invoices paid by check carry a 4% discount. Details here.

Maximum group size six with one leader; nine with two leaders.


**As we plan an early start on Day 1, we recommend arriving in Sevilla no later than September 6, the day before the tour begins. WINGS will coordinate the arrangements of your arrival in Sevilla, with the whole group including leaders ideally staying in the same hotel on the night of Day 0 for ease of logistics on Day 1. Please note, this pre-tour lodging in Sevilla is not included in the tour price. Should you be unable to arrive the day before the start of the tour please advise us in advance. 

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